How to Coach Kids addresses the gap in trained volunteer coaches in the U.S to help keep kids coming back to play

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Nike and the United States Olympic Committee, as part of their commitment to Project Play 2020, announced the release of How to Coach Kids, a free, 30-minute training course on coaching kids ages 12 and under. Synthesizing industry best practices into easily accessible online and app formats, the course aims to support Project Play’s multi-year effort to increase the quality and quantity of volunteer youth coaches in the U.S. and keep kids engaged in play while promoting active, safe and healthy lifestyles. The training course is hosted on HowToCoachKids.org – a complete resource center with additional sport-specific tools that are available once the initial training is completed.

We know kids are made to play and when they do, they have the potential to do better in every aspect of their lives. Engaging this generation – the most inactive in history – starts with efforts to equip coaches with the skills and experience to engage kids in sports and keep them coming back to play,” said Caitlin Morris, general manager of Global Community Impact at Nike. “With How to Coach Kids we’re working to grow the ranks of coaches who make a difference in kids’ lives and communities every day.”

When it comes to keeping kids active, caring coaches are critical—they’re one of the highest leverage points we have to get kids moving. A coach can inspire individuals and make or break a team, but according to a study conducted by Project Play, only 30 percent of the 6.5 million volunteer youth coaches across the U.S. have received any training. As a result, too many kids drop out of the sports or activities they once loved – fueling the inactivity crisis instead of helping to reverse it.

“Coaches make or break the experience for kids,” said Tom Farrey, executive director of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program. “Give a kid a good coach, and they’re more likely to enjoy a sport, develop personally and athletically, and come back next year. We also know trained coaches do best. So, this resource? It’s a game-changer.”

By providing reputable, research-based tools and resources that coaches need to work with kids of different ages and abilities, How to Coach Kids bridges the foundational training gap in volunteer coaching. In addition to establishing best coaching practices that can be applied across a variety of sports, the course also helps coaches create an environment that inspires a passion for play and physical activity.

“We are excited to partner with Nike to launch this important initiative, which we hope will positively shift the paradigm of volunteer youth coaching for current and future generations of kids across the United States,” said Chris Snyder, USOC director of coaching education. “The How to Coach Kids training course supports the key principles of the USOC’s American Development Model and Quality Coaching Framework to ensure coaches are giving American youth the best opportunity to explore and reach their full potential."

Modules in the How to Coach Kids course include:

  • Coach kids: An overview of age-appropriate approaches to coaching
  • Plan a great practice: Strategies for creating effective practices
  • Keep kids safe: Essential learnings for keeping kids physically and emotionally safe
  • Make it fun: Tips and tricks for keeping kids engaged and active
  • Teach kids: Methods for helping children grow and learn
  • Engage with parents: How to build successful partnerships to keep caring adults involved
  • Get the most out of the game: Lessons to share with kids and teams

Both online and in the app, the course uses inspiring visuals to keep coaches engaged. How to Coach Kids is available online at HowToCoachKids.org and available for download as a mobile app.

About Nike Community Impact 
Nike believes in the power of sport to unleash human potential and build community. We fuel this belief through Made to Play, our commitment to getting kids moving through play and sport so they can lead healthier, happier and more successful lives. Together with community partners and our employees around the world, we’re designing innovative solutions to get more than 16 million kids playing, running and jumping their way to a brighter future. Find out more about Nike's commitment to getting kids moving and providing opportunities for equal playing fields for all at communityimpact.nike.com.

About USOC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the United States Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. The USOC is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering America’s athletes, and is responsible for fielding U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, and serving as the steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the U.S. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.

About Project Play
An initiative of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, Project Play develops, applies and shares knowledge that helps stakeholders build healthy communities through sports. Building on Project Play, Project Play 2020 is a multiyear effort by leading organizations to grow national sport participation rates and related metrics among youth. The goal of the Project Play 2020 working group “Train All Coaches” is to grow the quantity and quality of youth coaches for kids 12 years of age and under and is led by the USOC and Nike.